Originally posted by Kate Ashlock:
I think you can get it both ways. We use a site where you can compare prices from online agencies and they had MUCH better deals than my local TA for our September cruise.
However, for our Jan 2007, our TA was the same price as the online agencies (and had the same shipboard credit + she added a photo voucher), so we booked with her.
I was a little unhappy with the service last time because it was our second cruise booking with her and there was no little gift (bottle of wine?) for us. I'm hoping she will do so this time because we booked ourselves + 4 other guests.
It's always good to compare your prices and have a TA you can go to.
Kate, I am just curious, when you stated that your TA didnt give you a gift (bottle of wine) for your 2nd cruise booked with her...was this maybe one of the 3 or 4 day Bahamas cruises? maybe on Sovereign of the Seas? If so I can understand why there was not a gift. Most times these 3 and 4 day cruises are so inexpensive that the TA only makes a few $$ for booking it. As travel agents we do not get fantastic prices for bottles of wine..example for me to place a bottle of wine or champagne in a clients cabin it costs me anywhere from $18.00 to 25.00..no discounts or special prices. If I book a client on a 3 day cruise that the commission is only around $50.00 total for the cabin (keep in mind we only get commission on the cruise only portion, not the Port charges or the Gov. fees and taxes which can run up to $200 or more of the total price) and if an agent works with a host such as some do, there is a commission split which means the host can get as much as 50% of that commission, that leaves the agent with maybe $25.00 for the cabin..then they spend $18.00 upwards for a bottle of wine, then they actually worked for very little $$. How are they supposed to pay for their overhead, which there is always costs of running a business.
TA are no different than those who get up every morning and go to a job, they do like to get paid for the work they have done. Also, a lot of people are not aware but agents do not get paid the commission on a cruise until after the final payment is made. So if a client books 18 months out...calls daily with questions, makes changes to the reservation, then before final payment they cancel the booking, that agent has worked for NOTHING..which don't get me wrong this is part of the business..even if the client makes final payment then cancels the cruise say a few weeks before sailing the agent gets charged back for the commission already paid.
My point is even if you dont get a bottle of wine on a 3 or 4 day cruise, the service the agent gives you is worth so much more.